Float global tender for vaccines to reduce price: Kerala CM Pinarayi writes to PM Modi

"We need to have a universal vaccination drive to achieve herd community," Pinarayi said in his letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Collage of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Collage of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Prime Minister Narendra Modi
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Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to float a global tender for COVID-19 vaccines, taking into account the cumulative need of the country. “This will help in reducing the prices,”  Pinarayi said in a letter to PM Modi on May 24. "We are facing the severe impact of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. To combat the same, we have been resorting to various types of restrictions. But all of us would agree that in the long run, the best way to resist the pandemic is building herd immunity. In order to achieve this, we need to have a universal vaccination drive," the letter states.

The CM has been maintaining that the peak of the second wave of the pandemic is over in Kerala. The state, however, has been reporting a high number of daily COVID-19 cases and the daily fatalities also remain high. Pinarayi, in the letter, also pointed out that there can’t be a long wait for universal vaccination and that the “foremost impediment we face in this regard is the scarce supply of vaccines and the vast demand for it.”

"At this juncture, our duty is to ensure adequate supply of vaccines. If the states go for separate global tenders and compete in the market, the natural consequence will be the increase of vaccine prices," the letter states, before urging the Union government to take the lead in assessing the vaccine demand for each state and float a global tender taking into account the cumulative need.

Pinarayi also reiterated the request that vaccines may be provided free to all states as it should be treated as a public good from which none should be excluded. Pinarayi on May 24 in his routine press meet on the COVID-19 situation had said that the most effective way to contain the transmission of the disease is to have herd immunity by vaccinating the maximum number of people.

"However, the vaccination drive can't progress at the planned pace. It was at this juncture that the state government called the global tender for vaccines, but state governments going for global tender may lead to steep hike in vaccine prices," he had said. 

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